Ms. Manique Gunaratne and Mr. Yasal Samarajeewa spoke on “Microsoft Excel training for persons with #disability at a half an hour programme titled “Anduren Eliyata” produced by Mr. Sujeewa Manage at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in October 2021.
MANIQUE GUNARATNE Board Member – Navajeevana Rehabilitation
In line with the National vision of a Technology-based society, The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka launched the Digital for Everyone (D4E) National initiative. Ms. Manique Gunaratne was recognized as an important stakeholder to ensure the successful implementation of this national initiative. Ms. Manique Gunaratne did a presentation on “Digital inclusion for persons with #disability” at the soft launch and the stakeholder consultation workshop in June 2021. The Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) hopes to take digital technologies to the citizens thereby pushing the national vision of a digitally empowered nation.
MANIQUE GUNARATNE Visiting Lecturer – University of Colombo
The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre together with Manchester International conducted a Soft Skills Development training for women titled “Fem Train” from September to November 2021. The “Fem Train” programme included women with disabilities. Women with disabilities were trained in soft skills to develop their employability skills.
MANIQUE GUNARATNE Steering Committee Member – International Labour Organisation Global Business Disability Network
The University of Colombo conducted a series of training on Disability Awareness and Sensitization under the Faculty of Arts – AHEAD grant and implemented in collaboration with the Centre for Disability Research Education and Practice (CEDREP) and the Staff Development Centre (SDC), the University of Colombo for the academic staff in January 2022. Ms. Manique Gunaratne conducted the sessions on how to provide:
disability – varied lived realities of persons with disabilities.
The role of
inclusive technology and assistive devices.
language and terminology.
Building a respectful and inclusive university community through interaction, assistance, disability accommodation and socialization.
MANIQUE GUNARATNE Country Representative – World Disability and Rehabilitation Professionals’ Association (WDRPA)
Companies spend a significant amount of money developing staff, whether it is on team-building days, attending conferences or enhancing technical skills such as coding languages. Part of the budget should go towards honing soft skills to nurture a positive culture among the workforce. While additional forms of training might involve presentations, role-plays, and task-based problem-solving, companies may not have considered basic sign language to complement the existing training provision. Yet, there are ample reasons to support implementing Basic Sign Language training as part of the staff’s ongoing professional development due to following reasons:
01. Your customers will thank you: There is a lot of buzz around the area of customer experience. While many Managers are busy mapping customer interactions and implementing email automation, some people will find it harder to access your perfectly designed customer journey. If your team embers can understand the barriers and communicate with a hard of hearing or deaf customer, that person will gain a positive experience of your company. You benefit from increased customer opportunities and accessing a new market by understanding how to make your promotions and offers more accessible, increasing sales.
02. Your workforce will be more inclusive: If someone joins the team who is hard of hearing or deaf and communicates in sign language, they will feel more included if staff members have some knowledge of sign language. The team will also feel more confident in approaching their deaf teammates.
03. Supporting each other: If you include sign language training as part of your workplace development programme, it could be fun to foster a “sign language only” the hour in the afternoon where those who need to speak to each other can sign. This will give hearing members of staff the chance to practice their new skills with each other and deaf colleagues the opportunity to offer support and be more fully involved in their team’s development.
04. A chance to develop empathy: One of the most important soft skills you can adopt in the workplace is empathy. Learning sign language or any other language is a fast track to becoming more empathic. As a language learner, the struggles that come with not being able to communicate fluently mean you experience a sense of humility. This means that, if someone joins the team whose first language is not English, co-workers will know to adapt their speech and gesturing to help the newcomer understand better.
05. Improving non-verbal communication skills: Important non-verbal signals can be frustrating. Being able to read another’s body language helps you know your next move in a business situation, so honing those skills is vital for a successful outcome. By learning sign language, your team will improve their ability to pick up on non-verbal cues and will therefore become a better asset in the boardroom or on the sales floor.
These are just a few great reasons to implement Basic Sign Language training among the staff members in the companies. The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre conducted training in Basic Sign Language from March to May 2021 for staff members of companies. Ms. Chammi Dias and Mr. Janaka Sampath were the Trainers for this certificate course.
MANIQUE GUNARATNE Administrative Vice President – Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre organised a programme on Mobilizing Women Leaders with #Disabilities for Inclusive Responses to Gender-Based Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic in North Central Province in February 2021. The programme was held at the Sahana Association for the Disabled in Anuradhapura.
Among the areas covered were:
Mechanisms behind how violence intersects with gender and disability.
Reflection on caregiver’s experience on gender-based violence faced by women with disabilities and awareness on the role and responsibilities of caregivers during pandemics.
Challenges and methods to overcome these barriers during the pandemic by women with disabilities concerning gender-based violence.
Educating on the support systems available for women with disabilities related to gender-based violence locally.
A group of persons with diverse #disabilities (vision impaired, partially sighted, deaf and hard of hearing, physical disability, wheelchair users and slow learners) successfully completed a course of study in Microsoft Excel at The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre inApril 2021. The training was conducted by Ms Manique Gunaratne. The target group included job seekers, school leavers, under-graduates and people who are employed.
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre organised a programme on Mobilizing Women Leaders with #Disabilities for Inclusive Responses to Gender-Based Violence During the COVID Pandemic in Eastern Province in February 2021. The programme was held at the National Institute for Social Development (NISD) in Ampara. Women with and without disabilities and men with and without disabilities were trained as training of trainers (Tot). Some of the areas covered during this programme were:
Introduction to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH).
Understanding on SRH and Sexual violence for women with disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Educating on Family Planning, Subfertility and Abortion for women with disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prevention of Sexual Violence for women with disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic and instructions for legal assistance.